Trump’s latest Instagram gaffe trades out Singapore’s Lee for Indonesia’s Jokowi
UNITED STATES President Donald Trump’s Instagram has mistakenly identified Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
In a post uploaded on Saturday, which was later deleted and replaced, an image of Trump speaking with Lee was captioned: “President Trump and the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo speaking before the start of their bilateral at the #G20Summit in #Hamburg #Germany.”
It was Trump’s first face-to-face encounter with Lee, while he had previously met Jokowi at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Saudi Arabia in May.
The amended post correctly identifies Prime Minister Lee.
Trump has the second-most followers on Instagram of any world leader after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Known for his controversial outbursts on Twitter, the president’s Instagram account is also used to repost his Tweets.
During a bilateral meeting with Modi in late June, Trump declared: “I’m proud to announce to the media, to the American people and to the Indian people that Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media.”
Both the Singaporean and Indonesian leaders held friendly bilateral meetings with Trump in Hamburg over the weekend.
In a brief meeting, Trump said of Singapore “we’re very close, the relationship is very close, and we expect to do some excellent things together in many ways. And we have a very big relationship now. It will probably get much bigger.”
Lee said: “We have many things going on with the US and we hope to do more under your administration.”
The US is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Singapore and is its third-largest supplier of imports after China and Malaysia.
In the transcript provided by the White House, Jokowi invited Trump to Indonesia: “First and most importantly, I need to deliver to you warm greetings from your millions of fans in Indonesia … They are only interested in one thing: When can they personally welcome you to Indonesia?”
“We’ll get there. We’ll get there. It’s a place I’d like to go,” responded Trump. “We have our whole trade delegation here, and we will start doing a lot of trading with Indonesia. We do very little business, relatively, now. But we are going to do a lot of business.”
An ABC Four Corners report last week exposed in 2015, Trump had pressured senior Indonesian politicians to build a toll road for him to invest in a massive luxury resort in Java, south of the capital Jakarta.
Moreover, Trump’s main business partner in Indonesia, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, was recently named a suspect by Indonesian police for allegedly sending threatening text messages to an official from the Attorney-General’s Office.
On Saturday, Jokowi also thanked Trump for Vice-President Mike Pence’s visit to Indonesia in April. During the visit, Pence described Indonesian Islam as an “inspiration to the world” and said “in addition to commitment to trade cooperation, both countries hold similar views on world peace.”
Southeast Asian specialist Michael Vatikiotis speculated Trump’s diplomatic gaffes would give China the upper hand in Southeast Asia – a region that has been less of a priority under the Trump administration than it was for his predecessor Barack Obama.
China doesn't need to make much effort to gain ground in SE Asia. Only needs to get the names right and know who they meet. https://t.co/Bhe2np6fHD
— Michael Vatikiotis (@jagowriter) July 9, 2017
Former president Obama recently met with Jokowi during a holiday in Indonesia with his family.
Obama made his first speech in Asia since leaving the White House in Jakarta at the Indonesian Diaspora Convention in early July, in which he urged Indonesians to fight for tolerance, equality and democratic values.
**This article first appeared on Asian Correspondent.